Animal Nutrition

Organized by MAI Zaragoza
Mai Coordinators: Dr. Armando Occón

Aims

Nowadays, in the light of the need to vary the traditional bases of livestock production, animal nutrition should adapt and continue to guarantee high productivity whilst paying attention to its influence on product quality and safety. Furthermore, it should minimize environmental impact and continue to contribute to the management of natural and rural areas, particularly fragile in the Mediterranean region. Therefore it is necessary to train young professionals and scientists in this field, so that from both the public and private sectors they can accommodate these changes and develop sustainable production systems.

Objectives

  • To understand the scientific basis and fundamental mechanisms of modern animal nutrition, and to know the relevant methods and techniques contributing to a greater efficacy of animal nutrition processes and of associated research.
  • To be able to integrate the different components of an animal nutrition programme, considering the interaction of nutrition processes with animal health and welfare and minimizing the impact on the environment, and to assess the advantages and drawbacks of using different strategies and methodologies from a perspective based on the sustainability of production and on securing safe and quality animal food.
  • To know how to plan and implement animal nutrition programmes in different situations and environments, drawing up specific nutrition strategies according to the type of feed sources, their components and nutritional value, the programme objectives settled, and the species-related, environmental and socioeconomic conditions.
  • To assume the responsibility of planning and carrying out, under the supervision of a tutor, but in a manner that must be largely autonomous, a work of initiation to research in animal nutrition and feeding, whose results may be potentially publishable.
  • To prove knowledge of the scientific and technical information underpinning the research conducted, command of the techniques and methodologies relevant to such research, and capacity to objectively evaluate the significance of its results and conclusions.
  • To know how to communicate the reasoning and conclusions of tutored works carried out in a group or autonomously, to develop skills in the preparation of informative and synthetic documents, and to acquire experience in the preparation and presentation of oral communications delivered and defended before an audience.

PART 1
THE MASTER OF CIHEAM - ZARAGOZA PROGRAMME

TRAINING SEQUENCE

The programme is organized in 7 Units (60 ECTS)

Unit 1
28 Sep.- 13 Nov. ’15    PRINCIPLES OF ANIMAL NUTRITION (10 ECTS)

Unit 2
16 Nov.- 18 Dec. ’15    FEEDSTUFFS AND FEED TECHNOLOGY: COMPOSITION, QUALITY AND SAFETY (10 ECTS)

Unit 3
14-22 Dec. ‘15 and 11 Jan.- 19 Feb. ’16    ANIMAL FEEDING, AND FOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY (15 ECTS)

Unit 4
22 Feb.-11 Mar.’ 16    MATHEMATICAL AND STATISTICAL METHODS IN ANIMAL NUTRITION (5 ECTS)

Unit 5
14-18 Mar. and 04-22 Apr. ‘16    REPERCUSSIONS OF NUTRITION ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND ON ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE (6 ECTS)

Unit 6
28 Sep. ‘15- 03 June ’16    INDIVIDUAL PROJECT (7 ECTS)

Unit 7
25 Apr.- 20 May. ‘16    PROFESSIONAL TRAINING STAGE RELATED TO ANIMAL NUTRITION (7 ECTS)

EXAMINATIONS
Participants take 1 written examination for each Unit, except for Units 1 and 3 where they take 2. Written exams consist of a set of questions that require a concise answer. Some of the questions are multiple choice. Lengthy questions are avoided.
Participants may retake failed exams once.
To complement the written examination of Unit 4, lecturers evaluate the performance and results of exercises carried out during the practical sessions. For the evaluation of Unit 6, participants must elaborate a written document that is presented and defended orally before a jury for its assessment. For the evaluation of Unit 7, participants must present a report assessing the work carried out in the host institution and valuing the professional and personal contribution of this training stage to their education.

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION
The working languages are English, French and Spanish. Lecturers can teach in any of the three languages. Simultaneous translation into Spanish is provided when lecturers speak English or French, therefore participants should prove knowledge of Spanish at the start of the course. From the beginning of July to the end of September IAMZ organizes an intensive course of Spanish for those who require it. Participants can answer the exams in Spanish, French or English. In the selection of candidates, knowledge of English and French is nevertheless valued, as part of the documentation distributed may be written in either of these languages.

PART 2
THE MASTER OF SCIENCE THESIS

Supervised research work: Thesis and defence (60 ECTS)
Duration: 11 months

This part is organized in 2 Units

INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH (30 ECTS)

The aim of this unit is to provide the prior knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to carry out a research project in a particular topic in the speciality of animal nutrition.

Learning outcomes:

  • To improve skills in the search for information, as well as in its selective and systematic treatment.
  • To develop criteria for defining the objectives of a particular research study.
  • To know how to plan the research work in order to best achieve the objectives set and to optimise time.
  • To develop skills in the use of techniques and methodologies relevant to the execution of a research project and to discern the advantages and disadvantages of each one for each particular project.
  • To know how to integrate knowledge and to learn how to analyse and contrast results.
  • To value the guidance received to plan and develop a research work, fostering dialogue, criticism and capacity to work as a member of a team.
  • To develop skills for self-directed learning and autonomous work.
  • To improve the capacity of response to unforeseen situations and the ability to reorient a research if need be.

MASTER THESIS (30 ECTS)

The aim of this unit is to apply previous education received throughout the Master programme to carry out original research in the topic chosen in the previous unit, that concludes with the elaboration of a written thesis.

Learning outcomes:

  • To be able to apply previously acquainted knowledge, methods and techniques in a discerning manner.
  • To develop skills in the analysis of problems and in the definition of objectives.
  • To know how to design the diverse experiments included in the research project correctly.
  • To be competent in data collection and analysis according to a pre-established research protocol.
  • To gain experience in the analysis of results and the elaboration of conclusions that may contribute to clarify and find possible solutions to problems.
  • To develop skills in the synthesis and presentation of contents and in the preparation of scientific texts.
  • To gain practice in the preparation and presentation of oral communications and in their public defence.
  • To acquire attitudes to favour exchange and collaboration with other researchers and professionals.

Research work is carried out in well-recognized institutions (universities, research centres or firms), generally throughout Spain or in the participant's country of origin, under the scientific supervision of a thesis director that must be a doctor of renowned prestige. Participants choose the topic according to their interest of training, which is approved by a Committee. If the participant so requires, the organizing institutions advise on the choice of the most appropriate thesis director and institution to carry out the desired project, and likewise propose topics related to their research activities or other topics of interest previously accorded with other institutions.

The assessment of acquired competences for both units is made by an examining board composed of representatives of the organizing institutions and external members selected in each case for their expertise and prestige in the field of the research work. For the first unit, this assessment is based on: (i) an oral examination by the examining board; (ii) the evaluation done by the thesis director on the performance of the candidate; and (iii) the evaluation based on the reports presented periodically by the participant, with the support of the thesis director, on the development and progress of the research work. For the second unit, assessment is based on quality of the thesis and on its public presentation and defence.

Research activities: most common topics for Master of Science theses

  • Effects of diet composition and additives on nutrient absorption, production performance and reproductive parameters
  • Feed value of different products and by-products
  • Effect of nutrition on animal product quality
  • Influence of nutrition on the environment
  • Consequences of nutrition in animal health and welfare
  • Modelling in animal nutrition